The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
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Some Involvements of Knowing God

By Al Stoner
“For they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD” (Jer. 31:34).

 

Knowing God through the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is consistently associated with great blessedness in Scripture. As a matter of fact, such knowledge is the very essence of eternal life (Jn. 17:3), the promise of which excels above all other Divine commitments in the Word of God.
But we would be remiss if we did not also affirm that the knowledge of God, practically speaking, can cause some difficulties for men at times and certainly does not guarantee that there will be smooth sailing all the way through life’s journey. The difficulties are generally introduced because man’s purposes and expectations, at very best, are comparatively short-sighted and do not reach into “the ages to come” (Eph. 2:7). That is to say, because God’s ways and thoughts are higher than man’s ways (cf. Isa. 55:9), and His purpose is eternal and unchanging (Eph. 3:10), there is continually a need for those in Christ Jesus to deny themselves (Lk. 9:23) and let go of conflicting near-sighted objectives in this life (especially, when they are perceived to be such) in order that they may align themselves anew in their heart’s affection with God’s eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.
 


Some Examples of This. To cite a notable example of this, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, judged, (and no doubt with very noble intentions), that the thorn that was in his flesh was proving to be a hindrance and a handicap to the service that he was earnestly and zealously rendering to God (cf. II Cor. 12:6-10). So he gave himself to earnest prayer regarding this matter (he “besought the Lord thrice” -- probably three extended periods of prayer and supplication).  Knowing what we do of the Apostle, it certainly does not appear that Paul was asking amiss, as James would say: that is, merely asking for deliverance from inconvenience and trouble. 


But Christ’s answer to Paul was that His grace would be sufficient for him. Paul was not on this occasion being put down by the exalted Christ, but rather he was being summoned to a much closer fellowship and involvement with the Father and the Son. By his being enlarged in the knowledge of God, through the means of this thorn, Paul would be enabled to take pleasure “in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for,” as he confessed, “when I am weak, then am I strong” (v. 10). And these things were not written for Paul’s sake alone, for this is the way that God “oftentimes” (cf. Job 33:29-30) works with all of His children.
 


But what if Paul had not been teachable, but had continued to reason, and possibly even to insist, that the removal of that thorn was the only acceptable remedy for his present distress? The consequences of this would have been dreadfully unimaginable! But alas, it seems that this is precisely where multitudes of religious professors are standing today with their own little worlds pitiably revolving around them! They are “ever learning,” but “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7). They are not willing to permit God to enlarge their knowledge and understanding of Himself through the means of tribulations and distresses for Christ’s sake.  


And what if Ezekiel had become personally embittered because of the grievousness of the Babylonian captivity, or John because of painful hardships associated with his exile to isle of Patmos? It goes without saying, however, that the glorious revelations which they both received demonstrate that their hearts remained tender towards the Lord in spite of all the grievous afflictions which came upon them. Let us follow their example when we are called upon to pass through the troubled waters of trial and affliction, and perhaps God will reveal to us some new aspect of His glorious Person through His Word.
The brethren of the first century, who took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, did so, because of the knowledge of God they possessed.  They knew that they had “in Heaven a better and an enduring substance” (cf. Heb. 10:34). Those early saints had their earthly possessions spoiled and taken from them by persecutors of that day.  They, of course, were not without natural affection, and, consequently, not indifferent to the loss of their earthly possessions.  Taking joyfully the spoiling of their goods involved reckoning by faith that what they possessed in the Lord Jesus Christ is more substantive than what they possessed in this present evil world.
In our day life’s trials and hard experiences may bring us face to face with the loss, or at least with the very real possibility of loss, of lands, houses, and possessions. We should, of course, seek to conduct ourselves in wisdom, if such an occurrence should befall us, but let us also seize upon the opportunity to examine ourselves to see whether we be in the faith, and then to reckon and to know that our everlasting portion and possessions are “reserved in Heaven for” us (I Pet. 1:4).
Thus, when life’s trials and extremities come pressing in all around us, let us not be weary in well-doing nor faint-hearted in our love and devotion to the Savior. Let us rather seek that same Divine assistance that was freely given to Paul in his distress. Let us consider well, however, that the blessed knowledge of God is often increased to us experientially by the means of the tribulations and afflictions that we are called upon to endure. Let us, therefore, seek grace to glorify God in them.--Editor

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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).